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Dayton Daily News Hit with Unfair Labor Charges

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Dayton Daily News Hit with Unfair Labor Charges

Article excerpt

Dayton Daily News hit with unfair labor charges

The National Labor Relations Board has accused Cox Enterprises Inc.'s Dayton (Ohio) Daily News of refusing to bargain in good faith with the Newspaper Guild local.

The complaint of unfair labor practices means that the NLRB found enough evidence from charges by the Dayton Newspaper Guild Local 157 to warrant a hearing, set for Jan. 30, 1992, before an administrative law judge.

The complaint, signed by Edward C. Verst, an NLRB acting regional director in Cincinnati, accuses the Daily News of: refusing in the negotiating process to turn over payroll records of stringers; insisting that stringers be excluded from the bargaining unit; and, "based on its animosity toward the union," refusing to deduct union dues from paychecks.

The union, representing 180 full-and part-time newsroom employees, was unaffiliated until it voted in 1986 to join the Guild. After a challenge by the company, an NLRB election in 1989 affirmed Guild affiliation and for the first time included part-time employees in the bargaining unit.

Newsroom employees have been without a contract since 1989 and have gone without a general pay increase for three-and-one-half years. Talks over 25 months have failed to yield a contract.

Rob Modic, president of the union local and a Daily News court reporter, called the NLRB action "vindication" for the union, whose members have been "unjustly targeted" by the newspaper "for choosing to be represented by a union that was not the company's choice."

Daily News business manager and lead negotiator Paula Grogan said the paper disagreed with the complaint and was negotiating a settlement with the NLRB.

The sides differ mainly over the status of up to 100 stringers. The Daily News maintains that many are independent contractors and exempt from union representation.

"We feel confident we followed NLRB guidelines in determining independent contractors," Grogan said.

Part-time stringers are hourly employees and part of the bargaining unit. Contractors are non-employees who are paid by the story.

Modic said the company had agreed before the election on the composition of the bargaining unit but has reversed itself, and removed about 20 stringers by calling them contractors. The union says it cannot figure out exactly how many until reviewing their pay and work records, which the paper is withholding. …

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